Tag Archives: Christmas

Epiphany, brightest and best of the sons of the morning

Epiphany Giotto2.jpg
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us Thine aid!
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid!
Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining,
Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore Him, in slumber reclining, —
Maker, and Monarch and Savior of All.
Say, shall we yield Him, in costly devotion,
Odors of Edom, and offerings divine,
Gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?
Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would His favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us Thine aid!
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid!
Reginald Heber (1783-1826)
Anglican Bishop of Calcutta
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From Bethlehem to Golgotha to glory: connecting with the tragedy in Newtown in the Christian view

The beauty of Nativity has been marred by the tragedy
in Newtown, Connecticut. Naturally, some good hardly find joy, hope, people,
love with the terrible loss; some even question the existence of a God who
really knows and loves us. Here is the text of a sermon delivered on the Third
Sunday Advent by Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, OP, at the National Shrine
here in Washington. The archbishop is a gift theologian, trained at Yale and now works at the Holy See. 

As we prepare to celebrate the 12th day of Day of Christmas perhaps it is worthwhile reflecting on what needs saying.

Brothers and sisters in Christ. A week ago today, in St.
Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, Connecticut, the Dominican Fr. Peter John
Cameron opened his homily with the startling words: “Never before has the
Massacre of the Holy Innocents taken place before the Birth of Christ. But that
is what has happened in Newtown.” At another point in his homily he mentioned
that he had run into a man that morning who reported that someone had said to
him that Christmas should be canceled this year.  “No,” Fr. Cameron
declared, “Christmas will not be canceled! We need Christmas more than ever!
Because the only way that we can make sense of this horror is if God himself
becomes flesh and comes to dwell among us as our Friend. We need the presence
of Jesus Christ in our midst to rescue us from this misery.”
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Pope meets the Kings

3 kings meet pope Jan 1 2013.jpg

The Pope meets the Kings on January 1.

Peace with God firmly linked with faith, Pope preaches on Jan. 1

Do you ever ask what peace really is? What are the horizons of peace? Why is the name of Jesus held holy, revered, not to be easily used in common speech? What brings every man, woman and child peace? Who is Mary, and why is she important? Pope Benedict answers these questions in a homily at a Mass he celebrated today to mark the New Year, the World Day of Peace, the solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.

The Theotokos of Vladimir, one of the most ven...

The Theotokos of Vladimir.

“May God bless
us and make his face to shine upon us.” We proclaimed these words from Psalm 66
after hearing in the first reading the ancient priestly blessing upon the
people of the covenant. It is especially significant that at the start of every
new year God sheds upon us, his people, the light of his Holy Name, the Name
pronounced three times in the solemn form of biblical blessing. Nor is it less
significant that to the Word of God – who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn
1:14) as “the true light that
enlightens every man” (1:9) – is given, as
today’s Gospel tells us, the Name of Jesus eight days after his birth (cf. Lk

It is in this Name that we are gathered here today. I cordially greet
all present, beginning with the Ambassadors of the Diplomatic Corps accredited
to the Holy See. I greet with affection Cardinal Bertone, my Secretary of
State, and Cardinal Turkson, with all the officials of the Pontifical Council
for Justice and Peace
; I am particularly grateful to them for their effort to spread
the Message for the World Day of Peace, which this year has as its theme
“Blessed are the Peacemakers”.

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The Holy Family of Nazareth: an ‘incomparable gift from God’

English: Holy Family, Mary, Joseph, and child ...

Today is the
feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth. In the liturgy the passage from Luke’s
Gospel presents the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph who, faithful to tradition, go
to Jerusalem for the Passover with the twelve-year-old Jesus. The first time
Jesus had entered the Temple of the Lord was forty days after his birth, when
his parents had offered “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons”
(Luke 2:24) on his behalf, which is the sacrifice of poor. “Luke, whose
Gospel is filled with a whole theology of the poor and poverty, makes it clear
… that Jesus’ family was counted among the poor of Israel; he helps us to
understand that it was there among them where the fulfillment of God’s promise
matured” ( The Infancy Narratives, 96). Today Jesus is in the Temple
, but this time he has a different role, which involves him in the first
person. He undertakes the pilgrimage to Jerusalem as prescribed by the Law (Ex
23.17, 34.23 ff) together with Mary and Joseph, although he was not yet in his
thirteenth year: a sign of the deep religiosity of the Holy Family. But when
his parents return to Nazareth, something unexpected happens: he, without
saying anything, remains in the City. For three days, Mary and Joseph search
for him and find him in the Temple, speaking with the teachers of the Law (Lk
2: 46 ,47), and when they ask him for an explanation, Jesus tells them they
have no cause to wonder, because that is his place, that is his home, with the
Father, who is God (The Infancy Narratives 143). “He – Origen writes –
professes to be in the temple of his Father, the Father who has revealed
Himself to us and of which he says he is the Son” (Homilies on the Gospel
of Luke, 18, 5).

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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